Thursday-Daily Chitas [Chumash, Tanya] & Rambam Summaries [16th Adar 5783]

Thursday, 16th Adar 5783/March 9, 2023


Parshas Ki Sisa-Chamishi

  1. Moshe ascends with the second Luchos:
  • Hashem instructed Moshe to carve for himself two tablets, similar to the first ones, and Hashem will write on it the words that were on the original Luchos that were broken. Hashem told Moshe to be ready in the morning and ascend Mount Sinai without any other person and wait for Him there. No man or animal shall be in the area.
  • Moshe did as he was instructed and carved two tablets, rose in the morning and ascended the mountain with the two tablets. Hashem descended in a cloud and stood with Moshe who called His name.
  • The thirteen attributes of mercy: Hashem then replied with saying the thirteen attributes of mercy, “Hashem, Hashem, Keil Rachum Vechanun Erech Apayim Verav Chesed Viemes, Notzer Chesed La’alafim, Nosei Avon Vapesha Vechatah Venakei” This means: Hashem is a merciful G-d, slow to anger, and abundant in kindness. He preserves kindness for 2000 years. Forgiver of sin, One who absolves but does not absolve completely. He remembers the sin of a father upon the children and grandchildren, up until the 4th
  • Moshe hurried to bow to the ground and prostrated himself, asking Hashem that if he finds favor in His eyes, let Him go with them and forgive their sin.
   Tanya Beginning of Chapter 35

The life purpose of the Beinoni

1. The theme and questions of this chapter:

  • Meaning of Lasoso: What does the word “Lasoso” in the verse [“and it is very close unto you… To do”] mean? This will be further elucidated in this chapter.
  • The purpose of the Beinoni: What is the purpose of the creation of the Beinoni, and what is the purpose of the descent of their soul below into the animal soul and side of evil?

2. A Beinoni will have a lifetime struggle with evil:

  • Will always have forbidden thoughts enter the head: The main difficulty expressed in the question above regarding the life purpose of the Beinoni is that, after all they will never be successful in completely banishing the evil that is within them, and will forever be troubled by forbidden thoughts that enter their head.
  • The essence of the evil doesn’t change: The essence of the animal soul doesn’t change: The reason for this is because the essence of the animal soul which comes from the side of evil retains its full strength in the Beinoni just like it was when it was first born.
  • Control of the garments: It is only the garments of the animal soul that the Beinoni is able to control, and limit the expression of his evil that is contained within them.
  • The question: Accordingly, the above question is truly understood, as what is the purpose of the descent of their soul below if they will never be successful in their battle to conquer and destroy the evil. It is as if they were sent into battle for nothing G-d forbid, without any possibility of gaining any ground in overcoming their inclination, as they will be in battle with their inclination for their entire lives. Why would G-d do this?


3. Comfort for the Beinoni:

  • The following message can comfort the Beinoni in a double measure and can help rejoice their hearts in their recognition that G-d dwells within them, during their times of Torah learning and service of G-d.

4. The words of the Yanuka in the Zohar-Fuling the Shechina on one’s head:

  • The Yanuka expounds on the verse “and the wise man contains eyes in his head” the following teaching. At first glance, the message of this verse does not make any sense as where else would a person’s eyes be other than his head. Rather, the intent of the verse is certainly as follows:
  • Focusing on the divine presence that rests on one’s head: We have been taught that a person should not walk four cubits without a head covering being that the divine presence rests upon his head. Hence, the above verse comes to tell us that a wise man should always focus on that which resides on his head. This should lead to him being concerned over how he can fuel the continuity of the divine presence upon him.
  • Fueling the divine presence so it continues to rest on one’s head: You see, a flame requires oil, and so to the flame of the divine presence needs oil to remain on the head. The body of man is the wick onto which the flame of G-d is lit. Now, King Solomon shouted in the verse “do not allow the oil on your head to be lacking,” as the flame that is on top of one’s head requires oil.
  • The oil is one’s good deeds: Now, what is the oil that fuels the flame of G-d on one’s head, these are good deeds. On this it says that the wise man focuses his eyes on his head, as he is always conscious to provide the oil of good deeds to fuel the flame of G-d that rests on him.
  • This ends the teaching from the Yanuka as brought in the Zohar.

Rambam, Hilchos Eidus, Chapter 11: 

Chapter 11: Further Rasha disqualifications

Halacha 1: An ignoramus

  • An individual who does not study Torah, Scripture, or the Mishneh, and does not socially participate in the religious community, is automatically considered a Rasha, and his testimony is rabbinically invalid, as certainly such an individual transgresses many of the laws.

Halacha 2: The validation process for an ignoramus

  • Accordingly, ignoramuses should not be designated as witnesses, and one should not accept their testimony, until it is verified that they are observant of the mitzvot’s, perform acts of kindness, are upright people, and are socially involved with the community.
  • If the above is verified regarding the individual, then he is valid as a witness even though he is unlearned and does not study Scripture or Mishneh.

Halacha 3: The difference between an ignoramus and a Torah scholar

  • Based on the above it is understood, that a Torah scholar is assumed to be a valid witness until proven otherwise, while an ignoramus is assumed to be an invalid witness until proven otherwise.

Halacha 4: Not to accept testimony of an ignoramus until he is validated

  • Whoever accepts testimony from an ignoramus prior to verification of his validity, is considered a fool and he will be punished for doing so, as he causes the money of the Jewish people to be lost due to the testimony of Reshaim.
  • If two witnesses testify regarding an individual that he is righteous and upright, then he is valid as a witness.

Halacha 5: The invalidation of shameless individuals

  • Shameless individuals are rabbinically invalid as witnesses. The following people are considered shameless:
    • Individuals who eat shamelessly in public while walking.
    • People who walk around unclothed in the marketplace when they are dealing with a undignified task.
    • People who publicly live off the charity of Gentiles without any shame, even though they have the opportunity to do so in a modest setting.
  • All the above people are considered invalid, being that they have no shame, and are considered like a dog, and have no issue with giving false testimony.

Halacha 6: The difference between biblically invalid witnesses versus rabbinically invalid witnesses

  • The following is the difference between a biblical versus rabbinical invalid witness:
  • Biblically invalid witnesses: A biblically invalid witness is considered automatically invalid even prior to him being proclaimed as an invalid witness.
  • Rabbinically invalid witnesses: A rabbinically invalid witness is not considered automatically invalid. His invalidation only begins after it is proclaimed in the synagogues and houses of study. Therefore, any testimony that he gave prior to this announcement, is valid.

Halacha 7: Believing a single witness by matters of prohibition [i.e. Eid Echad Neman Beissurin]

  • A single witness is valid for testimony regarding matters of prohibition.
  • Believing him regarding Kashrus: This applies even if he is considered invalid for other testimony, such as due to being a Rasha, as even a Rasha who slaughters an animal, the animal remains kosher, and he is believed to say that he slaughtered it properly.
  • One who is a Chashud: The above is with exception to an individual who is suspected of transgressing a certain matter, in which case he is not believed to testify regarding his own item, however he is believed to testify regarding the item of someone else.

Halacha 8: One who is suspected of transgression

  • Accordingly, one who is suspected of a certain transgression may judge and testify for other people regarding it.
  • The logic behind this allowance is because a person does not sin in order to benefit other people, as the fear of transgression is found even upon the wicked, even though they do not fear causing others monetary loss.
  • Testifying on Maaser: For example, even an ignoramus is believed to say that a product has been properly tithed.
  • Testifying on non-Bechor meat: Likewise, a person who is suspected of selling meat of the firstborn animal, is believed to state regarding a piece of meat that another person is selling that it is not from the firstborn.

Halacha 9: Testimony from and on behalf of kings of Israel

  • One may not testify regarding a king of Israel. Likewise, the kings of Israel are considered invalid witnesses being that they are ruthless and controlling, and do not subdue themselves to the judgment of the court.
  • A high priest: The testimony of a high priest is valid, and he may testify on behalf of the king or the president of the court. Likewise, one may testify regarding the high priest.

Halacha 10: Heretics and informants

  • Invalidation of heretics as witnesses: Heretics and informers are automatically invalid for testimony, and did not even need to be listed by the sages amongst the list of invalid witnesses being that they are worse than Gentiles.
  • The rule by Gentiles is that one may not help save their lives but also may not actively cause their death.
  • Reward for Gentiles: Likewise, the pious amongst the Gentiles have a portion of the world to come.
  • Punishment for heretics and informants: However, the heretics and informers are to be actively brought to their death, and they do not have a portion of the world to come.

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